The Imperfect Issue + Kinfolk Magazine Giveaway - CLOSED

Saturday, 27 December 2014

 


As I recall my college years, I realized that some people would do almost anything to get rid of their flaws. I'm not saying about bad grades, although that wouldn't be such a bad thing -- But imperfections such as their looks, their voices, or their 'less-than-impressive splurge on luxurious materials'.

Things are not always going to fall in their right places. Monica Geller was right you know; the real world sucks.

But that shouldn't stop us. There will always be a crack in everything, and that is when the light shines in. Sometimes, being imperfect is just the perfection that we are seeking subconsciously. 

If you take a look at a chef’s hands, you might see scald scars, crooked nails and perhaps huge knuckles.

If you look closely at an old man’s coat, you might see the faded tone, or trails of lint.

If you compare a ballerina’s feet to yours, you might see their unaligned and bone-y toes. 

If you step into a vintage store, you might notice untreated windows or rusty key holes. 

Those are just few examples I have on top of my head. And all that to me, is perfecto.

So why try so hard to strive for perfection, when you are already doing so great? You have to give yourself credit sometimes. Go on, I pinky swear not to judge you. 

--

Apart from that, I'm very excited to host the first giveaway in my entire life! Since this is my first time, entries are open to all readers currently residing in Penang Island only. As for the rest, don’t worry because I'm sure you will have your chances in the future!



Kinfolk magazine is neither to be heard nor seen anywhere near where I live. So, I'm super happy to give away 2 brand new copies of Kinfolk Magazine - Volume Thirteen.

If you have not heard of them, they are a leading independent lifestyle magazine for creative professionals all over the world. I subscribed to their printed and online pass on my birthday, which is possibly one of the best things I’ve gotten myself so far. 

All you have to do is tell me one of your imperfections and how do you embrace it! Send your entry along with your name to cindy-leow@hotmail.com


Terms & Conditions:
  • Closing date: January 6, 2015.
  • Open to all readers residing in Penang Island
  • All information will be kept private and confidential.
  • Two lucky winners will be randomly selected.
  • Winners will be notified via email & later in this post.
  • Parcel will be shipped after January 15, 2015.

All the best and here’s to a joyous new year!

*UPDATE
My heartfelt congratulations to two randomly selected entrants, Michael Cheong & Kitty Fong! Your Kinfolk Magazine is on the way. 


Phoebe, the odd reindeer.

Saturday, 20 December 2014




In all my life, my family never celebrate Christmas. Not even once. So, it becomes special for me when there is a celebration going on somewhere. 
Since it's a special season, I would like to introduce Phoebe, the odd reindeer for your Christmas this year!

Here's a little something about her:
  • Possibly the only reindeer that has never seen snow.
  • Has multiple identities -- She can be Chiara, Kina or even Cindy sometimes.
  • Terrified with the idea of Santa Claus.
  • Detachable antlers, period.
  • Prefer naughty kids over nice kids. They can be pretentious you know.
  • Thinks Rudolph is shy, but sexy. 
  • Still thinks she can fly over the sky.

By the way, the odd reindeer has some odd wishes to her odd family and friends here. And by odd, she meant loving and awesome people that hold special places in her Cervidae heart. 


To: The Leow Clan
When can we meet again? Yes, all of us! Despite me staying quiet, I actually read our group chat (perhaps not all). Merry Christmas and a Happy Happy New Year! I love you all.


To: Kitty Foong
We seriously need to get out of the mall. Meanwhile, let's start planning for our messy gathering. 


To: Siang
Are you still rendering your animation? Shall we pay a visit to the fridge? BTW, I love the photos!


To: Vincent Teoh
I'll try to make sure we have ice cream in our next meal. I will really try. 


To: Tricia, Siamese twins, Eileen, Emilyn, Hong Luan & Ee Lin
I'm sorry that I'm always in the worst time for meet-ups. Nevertheless, I miss all of you so much. And high school, of course.


To: TY, Khim & Kelly
Japanese food. As soon as possible. Hungry. Need to fuel new ideas. Lots of love. Ho. Ho. Ho.


To: EAA Ah Long
Thank you for the wonderful moments we had. All your messages never failed to make me laugh like an idiot. 


To: Jennifer Henson
I can't even put into words how much I miss you. When are you coming to the island again? Love you.


To: Fam
Are you still in your green tea world? I'm really hungry and I need you to fill my big tummy. The sooner the better. I'll call you if I'm going down South! 


To: Sean Crockford
It turns out they have fresh herbs at Sam's Groceria! I know we both have jobs in different places, but we've got to get down to serious business, my friend. -- Burritos.


To: Benjamin Tan
May your Christmas be merry & bright. Now, go get some sleep.


I don't think the list will ever come to an end. But my laptop battery will. 
So, I'd like to wish all of you a Merry & Creamy Christmas, and a Jolly New Year!


Double Chocolate Pudding

Saturday, 6 December 2014




Impress your guests with this easy and delectable recipe!
You can prepare this few days ahead and they still taste as good as the fresh ones. Just make sure you can resist getting your hands on it. 

Initially, I was planning to use dark chocolate in this recipe. But turns out I only have Russell Stover's truffles, hidden in a tragic corner of the fridge. Hence, my pudding turns out velvety and has stronger milk flavour.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PUDDING
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
25g semi-sweet chocolate bar or chips 
4 tsp cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of fine salt

Directions
  1. Mix 1 1/2 cups of milk, sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk all the remaining ingredients well in a bowl. Gradually whisk the hot chocolate milk into the mixture. 
  3. Return to saucepan and continue whisking over medium-high heat. Cook until the pudding for about 5 minutes until it comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat and continue whisking about 3 minutes more. The pudding should thicken by then.
  4. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the pudding over a bowl. This will get rid of any cocoa clumps and the end result you get is velvety-smooth pudding.
  5. Pour the pudding into small cups and cover with plastic wrap. And now the hard part, wait for the pudding to set. You can refrigerate them for at least 3 hours or overnight.

You can serve the pudding just the way it is, or be creative! Top with some whipped cream, tame this little devil with sliced bananas, or drizzle some melted chocolate if you believe in heaven. 

I hope to enjoy making this classic dessert as much as I do!

One Flight Down

Sunday, 30 November 2014




While November is coming to an end, I'm grateful and at the same time terrified. Because I think I'm adding too many events to my calendar and I'm not even sure if I have enough time. But that aside, I have Christmas to look forward to!

I can only imagine myself writing this now with the help of Norah Jones's One Flight Down. I have been too tired to even eat, sleep or think. I guess you can call that auto-pilot mode; if that ever make any sense to you. For the entire week, my mind just picked up on any sound and work that comes by.

Back in high school, I'd do anything to get away from Maths or History class. In fact, I've concluded myself as the laziest Convent girl. And now, people said that I've over-worked.

I remember a friend shared a quote on Facebook that goes 'No one is too busy, it's just a matter of priorities.' As much as that make sense, what about people like me whose switch are off sometimes? I let the word p-r-i-o-r-i-t-i-e-s fidget out from my selfish version of dictionary.

Whenever I looked into the mirror, I recollect the moments of my younger years; how I was excited about my new ballet leotards, how I've finally learned to play a new love song on the piano, how I was always on time for volleyball practice and how I love the smell of the grass whenever I'm on the running field. The funny thing is that those 'younger years' were just about 5 years ago. It's strange how the working world to retire me from a tough pirate to a little man who guards the lighthouse. 

At this point, I'm always looking for something to perk me up; coffee is no longer on the list. Sometimes, cooking helps too, but not this week. I'm too worn out to even preheat the oven!

Whenever I look into my phone, there will always be checklist where I can never cross them off all at once. It could be deadlines, workshops, trips, and executing plans on my online store (I'll explain this soon!). I wonder whatever happened to my camping plans.

No matter how many hours I've slept, I can never replenish the energy that was stripped away from me. 

I came this far to confess that work + life balance is one of my toughest challenges. I need to learn how to pause, and you should too. 

P.S.: Could not be more thankful for Fall Out Boy, fluffy pillows and Orange Bergamot essential oil.



My first attempt with marble soda

Saturday, 22 November 2014





After a movie day last week, my 5-feet tall friend distracted me while I'm choosing between Danish salami or mustard-glazed ham. She was rather animated about this drink she had with her host family in Japan.

Her cheerful voice drowned the Mariah Carey track that was on repeat. All I could hear was "marble", "classic", and I think several times of "You must try this!".

'ラムネ' Ramune soda costs about MYR6.00 here for 6.6oz - about USD1.80. So I went ahead and bought one. There are several brands and packaging available, but the one that I'm holding is known as the original marble soda.

The fun bit was I got to push the glass marble down to pop the bottle. I skipped the picture where almost a quarter of the drink gushed right up before draining my top. How could I live with myself when I forgot to settle down the soda?

For so many years, I've had my fair share of soda, seltzer and tonic water (can I be any healthier?). Unlike other fizzies, Ramune is neither too fizzy nor sweet. It's just a safe drink; taste wise. I might not buy this again because it's quite pricey for 6.6oz, but you should try this at least once!

Now, I'm curious about other imported drinks! What are some of the best drinks you've had? 

P.S. : Thank you, Tricia. You were right about Ramune.



Glimpse of light

Saturday, 8 November 2014





There are some days where I feel like the coldest day in January; lost, confused, almost comatose. But there are some days where I've got the whole world in my hands. At least I try to convince myself that I do. 

Lately, I've been convinced towards different directions of my career. At this point of my life, I could do a little extra to learn more. Thankfully, I stood firm in order to achieve one of my goals next year. It was neither easy to decline the pleasantly helpful headhunter, nor reject a copy writing job offer. 

I choose to believe that if we have dreams, we should stick to it and work our way towards it. Perhaps I might sound frail if I admit that life isn't easy and always goes as planned. But I rather share about what happens when you are about to step into the working world. 

It is okay to feel a little lost after you graduate. Trust me, I was terrified and had no idea what lies ahead of me. But in that way, you'll have something more to search for. It is okay to not know what to expect in life, because sometimes it goes entirely different from what you've planned. And sometimes, you'll end up somewhere better.

Ever since I had my first performance or competition (I can't remember which came first), my ever so wise dad told me to just go with the flow. Que sera sera, whatever will be will be. Unlike many stereotypical judgements on Asian parents, my parents have high expectations on me, but they don't beat me down when I failed to hit the bullseye. 

Here are some of the wise words on top of my head:


"Go step by step. There's no need to rush. Always do your best and stand firmly in what you believe." - Dad


"It doesn't matter what other's think of you. It only matters what you think of yourself. Because in the end, no one is going to live your life for you." - Mom


"We may have many dreams and goals, but we have only one family. I'm going to look after them before achieving something that I want." - Kitty Fong


"Sometimes, we need to get out of our comfort zone. I'm sure it's a hell roller coaster ride out there, but we should learn to take risks." - Siang


"There are times where difficult circumstances will change you into a different person. Sometimes, you just have to accept that you have no choice." - Kimchy


I'm always grateful to have family and friends that I can learn a lot from. At times, I have to give myself some time just to process their thoughts. It is moments like that I'm thankful that I have a space to write. 

After years of learning the lessons, here's my very own opinion to my dear friends out there:

Before you achieve, empty yourself. Take a step back and look around you. In our world, we are shaped to grow into a life where we should graduate university, get a job, a car, then a place to live. Later on, we'll get expectations about getting married, having kids, and the circle begins again.

What is all that about? Expectations. Expectations. Expectations.

Expectations may not be all bad. They are helpful in reminding us if we are going off track. However, they could be life-wrecking for those who beat themselves down easily. 

Always remember that whatever I've said above is only one path of life. Why fill your mind with one path when there are so many to choose from? As I grow, I have more goals, but lesser expectations. I move slower, but I notice more. I choose not to be a subject of competition among my relatives or friends. I choose to build my own path and open my mind other possibilities.
-
Wow, I can't believe that I'm going round and round about this. But I hope this could help at least a handful of you. I'm very honored when some of you turn to me at your times of difficulty. And whenever I can, I will always try my best to give my you my 2 cents.



Highlight streaks

Saturday, 1 November 2014




I'm in love with my hair right now! For about a year, I've been wanting to highlight only both sides of my hair, and I did it today! Not sure what has been stopping me before.

If you are looking to give your hair a fresh change, you can ask your stylist to give you a different shade or highlight. Since my job doesn't really allow me to have funky colours, I chose to go a few shades lighter. The highlight began from the part above my ears. Therefore, it will not be that visible if I let my hair down. I like it this way because it does brighten up my face when I tie my hair up. 

I would also like to  share with you on one of my favourite and easiest look. Mainly because I'm going for red puckers tonight.



List of products used for this look:


Makeup Forever brow pencil

Benefit Meet Matt(e) eye shadow palette - Matt Ramirez

Eyeko Eye Do mascara

Benefit Tropical Coral kit - Blusher only

Liz Earle Skin Repair moisturizer

Collistar Rosetto Design lipstick

Benefit Watt's Up sheer highlighter


If you noticed the above list, I did not mention anything about primer, foundation or powder coverage. I wanted my freckles to compliment the red lips, without going heavy on the eyes. What I did with my blusher here was rubbed in the powder blusher into a small dollop of my moisturizer. Since my cheeks are naturally rosy, I used this method to achieve a just little more flush. If you have dry skin, you can mix your powder blusher into your daily moisturizer, Argan oil or tea tree oil. But if your skin is oily, stick to powder blushers!

For every look, I have a focus point or should I call it the subject? It's the same concept when you design a visual. You need to have something to navigate your eyes to. The first thing you look at is the subject. Here, my subject is red, bold lips. Hence, I keep the number of products on my eyes very minimal. Instead of using liquid eye liner, switch to eye shadow to line them. It will open up your eyes, yet gives you a softer and a natural look.

So, dear friends, now you know how I achieve this easy look. The better you look after your skin, the lesser make up you need to pound on your face! 

I hope you find this helpful!

Random thought: I could kill for seafood paella right now. 



Dark Water

Saturday, 1 November 2014




Every once in a while, I tend to stop by Esplanade just to take a few deep breaths of sea breeze.

Today, I stayed there a little longer than usual.

The morning was beautiful and it is entirely different from when it's at night. You can see people walking their dog, reading the papers, some might be fishing and all.

I'm not sure about the weather out there, but since it's toward the end of the year, the weather on the Island changes drastically. We experience stronger winds, heavier rain and shorter daylight hours.

As the breeze rushed stronger, so does the ocean waves. It reminded me of how deep the water is and we could never know what's at the bottom. I'm okay at swimming, but I definitely will panic if you pushed me into the dark sea. Because I don't know what sort of sea creature that is swimming with me. In my mind, I'm terrified of angler fish, sharks, Moray eel, Barracudas, in fact any large-scale or black coloured fish.

Weird, I know.

I believe it all began when I was very young and my dad brought me to visit his friend's farm. We went to his back yard to see his 'fishes'. I vividly remember that I sat by this dark pond and all of a sudden, this huge Arowana swooshed at me. If you were there and you met this monster, you would be terrified like me. I think I cried on the way home.

This is why I'm afraid of swimming in dark or dirty water (even in pools). Does anyone else have this phobia like I do? I tried several times to push the terror away, but I failed. Watching Finding Nemo didn't help either.

That's what she said

Saturday, 6 September 2014


I can't believe I'm writing again, after such long time!

I had a fuzzy day, thinking it's still Tuesday. Yup, this is what happens when I only brew my tea after lunch. It's funny that many of us are so dependant on caffeine to kick start our day, isn't it?

Anyhow, I even forgot it's Halloween today, until I saw Wonka's Halloween Jumbo Pack at the front aisle. So as you've probably guessed right, I did not spend hours in front of the mirror dressing up for a spooky party. But if I had, I'd be Bellatrix from Harry Potter! What's more fun than going around yelling 'Abracadabra'?

On a different note, sitting in front of my laptop, listening to the rain pouring is just what I need right now. I don't know what else to do to feel better. In the recent months, I've fallen ill so frequently. Hence, resting at home would be less boring if I'm writing or reading.

Random thought: I'm looking to get some new books especially fiction. So, if you have a favorite or know of some good ones, please recommend me!


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